Daniel Ricciardo ‘accepting defeat for the moment’ amid growing pains

Daniel Ricciardo has rarely been slower than his teammate during his entire Formula One career but after playing second fiddle to McLaren partner Lando Norris in the opening two grand prixs of the season he’s handling it in a classy manner.

Ricciardo has delivered an honest appraisal of his own performance in Bahrain and Imola, where he has finished three places behind Norris on both occasions.

The Brit followed a fourth-placed finish in the season-opener with a podium at the Emilia Romagna GP to sit third in the driver standings. Ricciardo is four places back after finishing seventh and sixth.

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“Sixth, the result looks all right on paper but I wasn’t fast,” he said. “A bit like most of the weekend but obviously Lando got a podium and had stronger pace for at least the majority of the race.

“So I think on one side that’s really positive but obviously on my side, I need to figure out not what’s going wrong but just what I can do better. I don’t want to be too hard on myself but I’m going to accept defeat for the moment and just work and see what I can keep improving.”

Lando Norris has put Daniel Ricciardo in the shade. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Norris is showing the quality of the new McLaren car and validating Ricciardo’s decision to jump from Renault, where Estaban Ocon and Fernando Alonso are currently placed 12th and 13th.

“If personally I’m not getting everything out of it yet, the thing that gives me confidence is obviously looking at the potential of the car. It’s there and it’s pretty good,” Ricciardo said.

The Aussie said it’s now up to him to extract the most from the vehicle.

“It can do more than I think it can as far as just carrying more speed through the corners and the car is going to stick,” he said. “So there’s a little bit of trust in the car.

“But I don’t think it’s like, just turn in and close your eyes and it’s going to stick. A lot of it is technique as well. And this, I try not to say it as excuses from the past, but there is probably just still some old habits that that I need to flush out a little bit and things that maybe don’t work as well for this car.”

The MCL35M looks like a car that can deliver regular podiums. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Ricciardo believed he was also hurt by a decision to switch to soft tyres for the final restart at Imola but is very much looking within as he aims to lift at the Portuguese Grand Prix on May 3.

“I’m definitely in a productive mindset and not in a defeatist mindset. I certainly see the positives and for the team as well. (In) the second race, to get a podium already, I think it’s a good start,” he said.

“It’s encouraging to be up in the mix. So a lot to be excited for this year, I think the sport in general is all pretty tight and so I’m OK with that. I’m certainly happy with the progress we made (in Imola) and there’s still more to come. So I’ll be patient yet persistent.”

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